Creamy from all the Cheese
After all these days from which torrents of sweat pour forth, it's raining once more. Not the light showers which we have come to expect, but rather, the sort of torrent which pelts down like the rapid artillery of shotguns and drenches one.
This rain pours. It pitters, and it patters. It's accompanied with thunder, a growling and griping beast. Outside, a white film, much like a veil, coats everything and renders all to be smudged beyond recognition.
But we're not outside, we're inside. We're safe and snug under a soft, yellow bulb (albeit a little drenched). We're on an excursion, two adventurers set out for burgers, vegan food, and a solution to bank loan rates. For once, I've forgone my usual coconut and ordered a warm tea and brownie instead (after small talk with the staff).
We're perched on seats - me on a faux-grass covered bench, and her, cross-legged and sock-less. I shake my head, tutting in mock disapproval. The laptop is whipped out and research begins. Silence, like how it is always described, fills the space between us. It's soon replaced by the dry scratching sounds produced by highlighters against paper.
I'm first to break it.
"So, she got a loan immediately after school, and it has to be between 2 to 5 years."
"But it doesn't state that here... See?"
"That's the problem. We don't know her year of admission."
The banter goes back and forth for fourty-five minutes before we find ourselves badly needing a 'break'. In unison, we stand up, brushing our bottoms, and her donning her shoes (as I emit another sequence of tuts once more).
I take a deep breath, or rather, gulp, down the atmosphere before stepping in to the marketplace. It's quiet today, as per usual, but she's immediately awed by the impressive display of assorted, pastel-macrons-in-every-flavour-imaginable by the door. 'Nice, aren't they?" I say, and marvel at the sheer perfection before our very eyes, seeing not merely almond flour, sugar, and butter, but rather, skill, effort and dedication. (macron-making takes passion, they say.)
I hook her under the elbow, frog-marching her to my desired destination - and someone who possesses far more baking prowess than yours truly. I can't really put it in words, the emotions experienced at this place - a blend of awe, nostalgia and peace. Most probably, I'd attribute the 'peace' part to the late afternoons wandering the darkened space, filled with an assortment of shops which satisfy one gastronomically.
I get some more popcorn to satisfy my craving for them lately, but not before leaving with a fig in our stomachs and a steaming cup of chai tea clutched in my hand. We stray about for a bit, me occasionally pointing out some intriguing things: the giant wok, measuring a whopping 1.5m in diameter, along with the 'crodos' (a cronut-spin of). We stop by there for me to admire the behemoth bakery produce (think pain au chocolats the size of a hand, and even larger meringues), and to get some dainty Italian cookies. Our last stop's the baking shop, where we look around at the assortment of cookware and browse magazines, but not before plunking our bags down and making a break for the loo, safe in the knowledge that the cashier had agreed to be their guard for a minute.
We return after a good half-an-hour, and work continues. Progress is made, and we come to a conclusion that the subject graduated 6 years ago. On the way back, conversation in the cab ensues. (there must always be conversation to occupy the empty space in cabs)
"People here are so... nice", she says.
I'm at another café today - by the self, unfortunately. It's a warm, welcoming environment, one where I'm at ease and relaxed. I type and write, selecting a lemongrass crème brulee cheesecake (idea in mind) and tea. Sitting beside my hand is the long-yearned sesame apricot slice cake, glistening and beckoning.
I'm wearing a smile, an unconscious one, whilst my fingers fly across the key board. I like it here.
Another thing long-sought by yours truly is goat's cheese - rich cream-like cheese which one slaters on about everything so generously. I've stirred it in oatmeal, increasing the creaminess exponentially while adding banana not only thickens everything (more), but adds a natural sweetness which contrasts well with the sweet-sour tang of blackberries.
Try adding in some more honey, if a subtle hint of a tablespoon is insufficient. Or nut butters and some other sweeteners, for that matter.
Blackberry and Goat's Cheese (Banana) Oatmeal
1/2 c Oats
1c liquid (1/2 milk, 1/2 water)
1/2 - 1 mashed banana (optional)
1-2 tbsp honey/maple syrup/other sweetener
1-2 tbsp goat's cheese
Pinch of salt
1. Combine oats, liquid and salt in a pot over medium heat.
2. When liquid is mostly absorbed, mash in the banana and sweetener.
3. When desired consistency is achieved, swirl in cheese and 1/2 of blackberries. Top with remaining blackberries and serve warm. Enjoy.
For Microwave version:
1. Combine oats, liquid, salt, sweetener, banana (sliced) in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 2.30 mins (watch out at the end - you don't want it overflowing. Adjust according to your microwave wattage.)
2. Once done, stir in half of blackberries and microwave for 2 10-second bursts.
3. Give it a stir and add in cheese. Top with remaining berries. Serve warm and enjoy.